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Community Participation in Isiolo District: Past Initiatives and Options for the Future

Community Participation in Isiolo District: Past Initiatives and Options for the Future

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Published by Martin Walsh
A critical examination by Martin Walsh of efforts to adapt local institutions to the needs of contemporary development in Isiolo District, Kenya. Citation: Walsh, M. T. 1992. Community Participation in Isiolo District: Past Initiatives and Options for the Future. Annex 4 in The Isiolo District Support Programme, report submitted by Masdar Ltd. to the Overseas Development Administration (ODA), London.
A critical examination by Martin Walsh of efforts to adapt local institutions to the needs of contemporary development in Isiolo District, Kenya. Citation: Walsh, M. T. 1992. Community Participation in Isiolo District: Past Initiatives and Options for the Future. Annex 4 in The Isiolo District Support Programme, report submitted by Masdar Ltd. to the Overseas Development Administration (ODA), London.

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Published by: Martin Walsh on Apr 09, 2009
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4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6

Introduction PastInitiatives Agencies The Role of NGOs and International in CommunityParticipation the ILDP Optionsfor the Future Needs md CommunityParticipation Gender

I 2 4 5 ll 13 '

fartta ttalsb L992 rGonmnlty Particlpation la Xsr.olo lltstr'l.otr Pact Inttiatl.ves and Optl.one for the Futuref I Arner 4 tn thc f g!.o1o Dlstr.|.ot _suppert Pro,r annel a rcport suhltt;d bf, I,AIIDAB tbo 3r{.ttgb Ovcrgcaa Dcvclopot Ailol.nl,strBtlon.

4.1 Introduction the This annexexamines past, presentand funrrerole of community participationin the preamble(section|. I below), it of development Isiolo Distria. Following an introductory and of the is divided into three mainparts. Section2 analyses strengths weaknesses past (and process. Special in present)attempts elicit communityparticipation the development to takenor proposedunder the Isiolo anentionis given (in section2.3) to the initiatives of 3 to ProjectflLDP). Section is devoted a discussion the options LivestockDevelopment participation whichshould followedup in the ILDP's successor, be for ensuring community (IDSP). Section 4 gives particular the proposedIsiolo District Support Programme (whichwere somewhat in neglected the genderneeds women of consideration the strategic to in of ILDP) as they ariseand will be addressed the context this programme.

in 4.1.1 ComnrunityParticipation Perspoctive past andpresentattempts incorporate communityparticipationinto the !o Beforeexamining process Isiolo District, it may helpto definemore clearly what community in development participation means, why it is important,andhow it can be (or has been, in the contextof put programmes) into practice. other development t interventions as made it The experience the pasttwenty or more yearsof development of in clear that the participationof local communities the identification, implementation, increases chance the of and operation evaluation the projectswhich affectthemconsiderably in that theseprojectswill carry real benefits and be sustainable the long term. The failure in beneficiaries the projea cyclc is frequentlya recipe for failure. For to involve intended participation widely, thoughby no meansuniversally,recognised is community this reason initiative. to of as essential the success manydifferentkindsof development is Although the importanceof community participation widely recognised,there are variations the way in which it is mobilised. [n many casascommunity in considerable (in participation primarilyidentified with community is contributions the tbrm of labour, projects, especiallywhen these of materialsor cash)to the implementation development roads, otherinfrastructural facilities. In Kenyasuch involvetheconstruction buildings, or of 'Harambee', self-help, the local in or are of contributions one of the primaryconnotations community. participation extended include is in Wherecommunity to local involvement projectplanning, more often than not this is still done on a project by project, or operationand evaluation, practicein the caseof intervention intervention, basis. This is andhasbeentheprevalent by technicaland other in:erventions by small-scale sponsored mmy NGOS (though it is not in parficipation difficult to find projects which community doesnot featureat all). Instances Kenya, in both ASAL and non-ASAL areas(see, f<rr of this can be found throughout participation in initiative.s differentNGO projectsin example, overviewof community the


Ethiopia, from southern paper Kaluli(1992)). An example by Districtin a recent Machakos Project, Boran,is the CARE BoranaRangelands of amongthe northernrelatives the Isiolo given by grain storage adviceon and uponwaterinterventions technical which hasfocused staffworkingat villagelevel. extension of it common, is not easyto find exarnples is project approach relatively While tfietechnical approach to conrmunity projects or progr:rmmeswhich take a broader institutional to of participation.The development local (or locallybased)institutions ensurecommunity task, and difficult cycleis a muchmore ambitious of in all phases the planning participation the way. Perhaps most relevantexampleof for smallNGOSto tacklealonein a meaningfirl in an institutionalinterventionof this kind is that undertaken the contextof the World Bank Regionin southern (1988-1992), againin Borana Pilot Rangelands Project Southern sponsored (operatingshopsand veterinary drug stores) Ethiopia. In this project servicecooperatives units (the madda),albeit management Boranresource were formedon the basisof traditional (see and for unitswhichhadlongbeenusedby the government administration tax collection details). Hogg 1990for further of the IDSP is to promote institutionalisation of Oneof the primaryobjectives the proposed of communityparticipationand the participation community institutionsin the planning interventions.The next of implementation specificdevelopment procqss, welt as in the as participation Isiolo District and examines in the reviews pasthistoryof community section inherentin existinginitiatives. the weaknesses


Past Initiatives to which follow analysepast (and present)approaches eliciting community The sections policy and of of Isiolo District. An analysis government participation the development in playedby NGOs and other of practice(section 2.1) is followedby an examination the role communityparticipationin the disregarding) in donor agencies fostering(or in somecases (section 2.2). The find and longestsection(2.3) under this headinglooks at the district underthe ILDP. taken proposed or of and strengths weaknqsses the initiatives

4 . 2 . 1 Government Policy and Pracfice
process widely recognised is participation thedevelopment in of The importance community processes of for Kenya.Indeed,support the integration participatory of by the Government past decate following the over the considerably planninghas increased in development policy of District Focusfor of implementation the Government's and (ongoing) formulation were largelyseen participation development and BeforeOris community Development. Rural "Harambee' which were the particular initiatives including andself-help, in the context of in of of responsibility the Department SocialServices the Ministry of Culture and Social has of Services. Now the Department SocialServices mappedout a broaderrole for itself policyat locallevel. In IsioloDistrict of the in facilitating implementation theDistrictFocus activitiesnor policy practicehas yet to match the thmry, and neitherthe Department's in implementation general have come close to attaining their stated goal of full and participation development. in community meaningful



The District Focusfor Rural Developntent planning and community franreworkfor development The formal institutional policyof District process setout in 0reCovernment's is participation the planning in in whichbecame officiallyoperational 1983. A-full Focus Rural Development, for at as discussion the policy, especially it operates districtlevel, can be found in of role dealonly with thelocallevelandthe (theoretical) Annex3. The followingnotes (LDCs and SLDCs). development committees and sub-locational of the locational 'Blue Book' (Republic Kenya 1987)the LDC of in As stipulated the DistrictFocus were of the location.The nrembers the committee by should chaired thechiefof be chiefs,the KANU locationalchairman,councillors, to includethe relevantassistant of departmentalofficers, local representatives parastatals and headmastersof of schoolsin the area. The core composition eachSLDC, chairedby its secondary (or was)meantto be basically same,includingthe KANU subtlre a-ssistant chief, is of departmental officers and headmasters primary locational chairman,councillors, schools appropriate. Both LDCs and SLDCs are also to include cooptedlocal as groups. The 'Blue NGOsand self-help leaders representativescooperatives, of and mustbe adequately represented the in organisations Book' furtherstates women's that LDCs andSLDCs, policyprovides mechanism for a for Although DistrictFocus RuralDevelopment the will participation, doesnot ensure thatsuchparticipation be a regular it community procass.Committee part of theplanning members left free to decide are andintegral from other areasof Kenya how and when and who is coopted. As experience variationin practice,rangingfrom adequate to indicates, this leadsto considerable participation the LDCs and SLDCs. In Isiolo in and minimalcommunity women's given that the LDCs and is District, however,the difference at presentacademic, place. As a result there 'is considerable SLDCs do not function in the first with the existingsystem,which relies in dissatisfaction many local communities heavilyupon the charaster and actionsof individualchiefs in the absence any of for community representation involvement.The District Focus formalmechanism or policydoes,at leastin theory,providefor a solutionto this situation. However,not at in until thepolicy is implemented local level, andimplemented the right spirit, will into participation the planning in it be possible translate to community alienation process.


The Department of SocialServices In theorythe Department SocialServices the Ministry of Culrureand Social in of Servicesalso has an important part to play in the process of participatory development. According its own statements, department Isioloplaysa key to in the role in promoting communityparticipation and ensuring the coordination of development activities thelocallevel. This is achieved at throughthe work of social (SDAs) divisional locational development at levels.SDAsarenormally assistants and recruitedfrom the communities which they work. They are expected work in to planning,monitoring with local leaders the identification, in closely and evaluation projecs from the local campor conmunity up to divisionallevels. of development They are also expectedto act as secretaries the different local development to committees sub-committees. of theirmajortasksin this context to ensure and is One




thus to activities avoidduplication.The department of thecqordination development and link between other ministries/departments irselfas providingan important sees provision services. of in localcommunities the pronrise. Although this falls of the In practice department ratiershort metrting grand as hr.udquarturs well u; all of the ll postedto eachof the 4 divisional SDAs are constraints.One of in locations Isiolo District,manyof themlabourundersevere is to itself is readiest recognise, their lack these,and the one which the department a thentto undertake regular whichwouldenable and/orotherprovisions transport of reasonalonethe SDAs are largely confinedto programme field visits. For this of in of centres settlement which they are based. Even if they working in the particular had transport,however, it is unlikely that the SDAs could achievemore than a Thereare, as notedabove, fractionof the taskswhichtheir districtoffice envisages. which theycouldbe activeon. and committees sub-committees no localdevelopment trainingandlevelof motivation whetlertheircurrent it More importantly, is doubtful participation and community role in promoting equipthem to takea leading could that sugge.sts the Department evidence The available cooperation. interdepartmental in of SocialServ'ices Isiolo District will not fulfil its full potentialin this rggard someor all of theseconstraints. to designed removeor reduce without interventions and This is not to say thatthe department individualSDAs do not perform important includinga Social a operates varietyof programmqs functions. The department includingthe to designed assistthe poor and disadvantaged, Welfare Programme youth and other vulnerablegroups. illiterate, unemployed disabled,the aged,the of and in the rural areas the district, the work of the SDAs is most often Otherwise. to in manifest their assistance women'sandotherself-help(includingyouth)groups. Close to 100 womcn's groups and more than 160 self-helpgroups are currently in with the Department SocialServices the district. Theserepresent of registered is initiatives,and more detailedconsideration importantcommunitydevelopment groups,in section bei:w. 4 givento one category these, women's the of


' i



The Role of NGOs and InternqtionalAsencies those participation initiatives, especially ffiffiy community 4.1.I above, As notedin Section by havebeenundertaken NGOs. IsioloDistrict interventions, technical relating small-scale to of of had ratherlessexperience this thanmanyother areas Kenya. One reason hasperhaps is that therehas beenminimalNGO activityin the district to date. Certainlythere for ttris are relatively few NCOs working in Isiolo District at present,and many of those focus Isiolo town) and/or upon child healthand primarilyupon the CentralDivision(including programmes. education Oneof the mostactiveNGOs in the districtis andhasbeenAction Aid, who are currently from Isiolo town to Merti and (early 1992)in the process movingtheir centre operations of of includetechnical the tiree locationsin Merti Division. Action Aid's current interests activities and the promotionof incomegeneration to assistance farmers,forestryinitiatives, havenot involvedany particularcommitment for women'sgroups. To datetheseinterests groupprogramme, which is still participatory though women's the approach, to an elaborate in its infancy,may well leadin this direction. The samemight be saidof the Councilfor in HumanEcologyin Kenya(CHEK) which operates CentralDivision and is thinkingof trainingfor women'sgroups in additionto its present initiatingleadership and business stove)dissemination. workshops programme improvedjttp(cooking and of tailoring

watersupply, health care,andsanitation domestic The work of theCAFOD community-based participation. project to approach community of provides goodexample thetechnical project a the of workers encourage formation community and improvement In the ca-se well digging of least two women. These includingat of local water committees about l0 menrbers, and the purchase of contributions cashandlabourto well construction organise committees for. The CAFOD they and maintenance are also responsible pumps,whoseoperation of and provides technicalassistance capitalinputs. engineer happy and agencies NGOsworkingin IsioloDistricthavehada muchless Otherinternational participation the consequent and community effortsto engage recordin termsof their limited of failure of their interventions. Notableexamples this are provided by a number of irrigation projectsalong the Ewaso Ngiro which have since proved externallyconceived at of difficult 16 su5tain. The adverseconsequences two such schemes, lresa Boru and have acnrally increasedthe Gafarsa,have been describedby Hogg, arguing that they vulnerability of their would-be beneficiariesto drought and therefore famine and (Hogg 1987). impoverishment The lesson,it seems,has yet to be learncxl. A notableexampleis the irrigation project on currentlybeingundertaken behalfof the RomanCatholicMission at Merti. The project to canaldesigned irrigatesome200 of construction 5 km-longconcrete-lined hasinvolvedthe of The technicalsuccess this capitalof acre.s land with water from the Ewaso Ngiro. alreadyled to the accidental and it has apparently intensiveprojec has yet to be assured, flooding of a number of local homesteads.Far from being founded upon communify religiousdivisionswithin the local participation, irrigation project has exacerbated the of community. It hasalso met with the disapproval farmersand othersliving downstream of Merti who fear, quite naturally,that the projectwill deny them the water that they need participation work. at to irrigatetheir own fields. This is clearlynot community


Participationin the ILDP Communit.v of This section examinesthe strengthsand weaknesses the approach to community of is attention given to the weaknesses under rire ILDP. Particular participation elaborated of debate, in recognition the fact but this is not for thesakeof academic the ILDP approach: to IDSP is very mucha succe-ssor the ILDP, and mustbuild upona critical that the proposed of evaluation its achievements.

4.4,L llescriptionof the ILDP Approach in undertaken the participation and its mobilisation work on comnrunity The innovative above. as from other approaches described contextof the ILDP markeda radicaldeparture research inputsfrom 1989onwards(described and upon sociological This work wasfounded approach was by Swift andUmar l99l). Its majorachievement the outlineof an institutional data participation IsioloDisuict, supported up-to{ate socio-economic and by in to community and in as on detailedinformation problemsand needs perceived differentlocal communities differentwealthgroups. it out) between as they varied(quiteconsistently, rurned Researchbegan with an examinationof the existing institutionsand decision-making and procedures the Boran(includingBoranGutu,Sakuye Waata)living in the threeeastern of (particularly important the for like divisions IsioloDistrict. Someinstitutions, clanship of cornmittees, primary school and well or borehole and otherassets), redistribution livestock of

restricted functions. Attentiontherefore wer€ foundto haverelatively turnedto committees; througharda (groupsof contiguous from qh (camps) Boran spatialorganisation, camps)to interest focused uponthe deda)(pluraldedowan, but of deda(groupings add. Particular gangraphicunit of resource here anglicised), as describexl ttre'largest recognisable management Isiolo Boransociety'(SwiftandUmar l99l:22). in 'are quite According to Swift and Umar fsfu stablegeographicareas which, althoughtlwy do not lwve rigidly ftxed bowdaries, are well understood by Boran and are respectedas resource nvrnagemev membership the peopleidentified with these units' (l9l:22). Ded,a - was foundCI be relativelystable. Meetings,kora deda,were geographic units essentially problems for example common aboutthe local schools said to be held regularlyto discuss and irrigation - &s well as take decisions over collective grazing. Theseme€tingsare open to all (male)herd ownersand haveno chairman formal procedure,though respected or clan research also revealedthat while deda are elders have particular authoriry. Sociological in chiefshaveno special identicalto administrative sub-locations somecases, assistant status making. in dedadecision focus for community As a resultof this analysis,the Borandedabecame institutional the participation the ILDP. Furtherresearch conducted a dedaby dedabasis. A total was in on the togetherwith six of 14 deda,most of them abutting EwasoNgiro, were identified, "common grazing areas" outside the of deda and reachingto the northern, easternand "Dossiers'were of divisions the district. of southern boundaries the threeeastern drawnup for each of the deda, and later for the commongrazing areas,describingtheir principal games as of rankingexercises problem-solution and characteristics well astheout@me wealth in eachof them. it was envisaged these that dossiers, versions and periodicallyupdated of planning phases the ILDP. toolsin subsequent them, would becomeimportant of participation represented, least in its general This institutionalapproach community to at government non-government practicein intention,a considerable advance uponexisting and the district (asoutlinedin sections 4.7.1 and4.2 above). This was not accurately reflected, however, in the draft ILDP plan drawn up in 1991. Despiteits numerousreferences to process planningand community participation, draft plan focused the uponoutliningpossible technicalinterventions treated"dedadevelopmcnt' just one of theseratherthan the and as (ILDP necessary framework in which districtand local development shouldbe undertaken l99l: 56-57). Oneof the mainobjectives the proposed IDSP is to build uponthepositive of achievements the ILDP and fosterthe institutionalisation communityparticipation of of in planning project development implernentationoriginallyenvisagod. orderto do so, as In and however,it is first necessary evaluate ILDP approach the morecritically thanhashitherto to beenthe case. 4.4.2 Weaknesseof the ILDP Approach Despiteits innovativeness, ILDP approach, its the especially existingapplication, a has numberof shortcomings.The mostserious objections, enumerated below,all concernthe participation.As will be choiceof the Borandedaas the institutional vehiclefor community seenlater (in section4.3.2), the rejection the dedaas the primary and specificlocusfor of developmentat the community level does not entail that the underlying principle of neighbourhood has organisation to be abandoned:in fact the oppositeis the case. The problem is with the deda itself as a traditional(or even pseudo-traditional) form of local organisationwhose further development and formalisationcould have very different


for or consequences communityparticipation than thoseintended. Four aspects, areasof "deda concept'are discussed concern,relatingto the below. The Irnportanc€of the Dedr Strongarguments be madeto the effectthatthe deda not havethe institutional can do Neitherof the anthrogrclogists status ascribed themby the ILDP researchers. to who long-termfieldwork amongthe Isiolo Boranin the 1970sdescribed conducted such a role for.the deda(seeDahl 1979; Hogg l98l). Meanwhile,and contraryto the argumentthat the deda may have grown in importance since then, a number of contemporary observers,including Boran, note that the concepthas declined in in with the general significance tandem decline Boranpastoralism of sincethe shifta War of the 1960s. The primary reference deda is to grazingor a grazingarea. By extension is of it grazing sometimes usedto referto a groupof camps whichhabitually a particular use area. It can alsobe usedto refer, by implication, a particularsettlement to nodeor area, meaningsimply that there is a concentration peoplethere who use the of surroundinggrazing. However,no dedaiueacan be definedsocially and the deda does not define any righs in land. All Boran are free to grazethroughoutBoran territory and rights to waterare formally structured according clanshiprather than to locality. While it is true that ties of localiry havebeenmore importantsincethe 196Os tbe and lossof manyBoranstock,thededaconcept doesnotprovidethe soleor evenprimary meansby which theseties are articulated. As resource management units, the deda are essentiallyunimportant and only mobilised in times of pressing need (for example,to coordinate commonresponse incursions Somali pastoralists). a to by Most livestockmanagement decisions takenat the household camplevel. On are or the other hand, there is growing identificationwith the nodesof settlement referred to above. Suchplaces, which arethe foci of smallscale enterprise varioussocial and and other servicesl(includingschools,clinicsand cattlecrushes), havedefinite do resourc€s the local communityto manage. The ILDP research,"inis tendency for to idealiseBoran pastoralism(as a threatened nonaheless viable way of life), but (suchas can be called at appears have confused to ordinary neighbourhood meetings with the traditional, increasingly short noticein mostsettlements) but insignificant, institutionof dedacouncils. It might be addedthat the ernphasis upon the 0edaalso encodes geographicaland a ethnicbias. The ethnicbiasis mostapparent:the dedaare (or are reconstructed as) Boran institutions. It is not clear how they can be useful in enhancingthe participation otherethniccommunities thedistrict,including Somdi - a topic of in the which was not dealtwith at all satisfactorily, ILDP staff acknowl,""Jge, as when the dossiersfor the central grazingareaswere compiled. At the sametime, the deda approach explicitly excludes of CentralDivision, includingthe polyethnicareas dl in and aroundIsiolo town, from participation the participatory process in planningit is supposed promote.With its emphasis to upononeethnicgroupand a singlesector of production, ILDP wasvery muchmnceived a Boranlivestockdevelopment the as projea. The intentionof the proposed IDSP is muchbroaderthan this, and it is importantthat it is not seento havea particular ethnicbias.


Deda Boundariesand FJhnic Conflict (see Daspite the recognition that the dedado not have rigidly fixed boundaries above), ILDP staff drew up dedaboundaries the map,claimingtheseto havebeen on with localdedaelders.The delineation the boundaries Orisway, roughlyagreed in of as a first step in the (onceproposed) formalisation the deda,carriesa numberof of dangers.The leastimportant these of dangers, theonly one which wasdiscussed but at any length, was the possibleeffecton access resources.As notedabove,Boran tio grazing throughouttheir territory, and at any one time a enjoy free accessto particular dedamay contain only a fraction thelocalcommunity's of livestock. Thus, that mighttakeplaceon a dedabasis,it wasrecognised envisaging land adjudication that this would have to be done in a way which ensuredreciprocalrights of access differencededa. between A muchgr€ter danger,also linked to land adjudication, went unrecognised at or leastwas left unstated. This relates tlre potentialfor the deda systemand its to institutionalisation feed into the long standing to Boran and ethnicconflictbetween livestock herdersin IsioloDistrict. In its present Somali form this conflictdates from the aftermath the shiftawar whentheBoran,havingsuffered of massive losses, stock felt thattheyhad beencheated theirerstwhile by Somalialliesinto bearingan unfair of for share the punishment their support secession. for The depletion Boranand of especially Sakuyecamelherdspavedthe way for the subsequent influx of Somali pastoralists from North EasternProvinceinto the wet seasongrazingareasthat the Borancould no longer occupyin largenumbers. Sincethen Somaliherdershave periodically from the districtby force - the last time in 1989- only to beenejected returnshortlyafterwards. At present Somaliherders considered be fairly the are to immunefrom such action, having powerful supporters both in Isiolo town and, reputedly, higher levelsof government. at Both Boranand Somalipoliticians havealreadybegunto manoanvre anticipation in of possible land adjudication, thereare clearindications the dedaconcept and that is already subject machinations eitherside. For theBoran,dedadevelopment the of on signifiesrecognitionof their centralpositionin the affairsof the district, as well as of their inalienable right to ttre best gruing land along the Ewaso Ngiro. The corollaryof this is the exclusion, relative otherwise, the Somali- indeed, or of some Boranhavealreadysuggested thededaboundaries that shouldextendthroughthe socalledcofirmongrazingareasand on to the boundaryof Isiolo District. For theSomali,the definitionof dedaboundaries provides themwith an opportunity to claim that theseare the normalbounds Boran territory. By implicationthe of commongrazing areas, the landousideof thededa,thereby all belongs (or at least to on this basismight be adjudicated favourof) the Somalithemselves. in It should stressed this is not idle speculation. be that Arguments botl sidescould for be heard in Isiolo town in early 1992. In fact there is no real boundarybetween Boran and Somali in the district, at leastnot as fixed as the deda map suggests. permanently some thecentralgrazing Boranaresettled in (Garba of areas Tula) being a good example),where they also seekwet seasongrazingalongside Somali and o0tersfrom outsidetlredistrict. otherwise, especially the dry season, and in Somali found grazing canalsobe their camelherdsnearthe EwasoNgiro, in the coreof the Borandeda. More certainis the fact thatconflictexists,that this is exacerbated bv


the ongoingshiftaOanditry)problem,and that a means resolveit has yet to be to found. It is also clearthatthe formalisation the dedaproposed the ILDP would not be of by a neutralfactor in this situation.More generallythe ILDP approach be charged can with largelyignoring Somaliquestion. [n fact the only study which gives the the (19% of the district total according the 1979census) Somalipopulation to due attention'isthe reportby Dahl and Sandford(1978). The basic factsaboutSomali settlement and movernent within the district are o0rerwiseunknown. This is a gap in our knowledge, significant and it must be filled if communityparticipation initiatives theeastern in divisions to involvemoretlan oneethniccommunity, are the Boran alone. Deda rnd Women's Participation As well as carryingan dhnic andgeographic bias, the ILDP's choiceof the dedaas participation promotes gender thevehiclefor communiry also a bias. As notedduring gender oneof the mainaxesof differentiation Boransociety, the ILDP research, is in and womenheaded housetrolds areoften amongthepoorest(Swift and Umar l99l: 39, 43-43). At the sametime women, even if they are herd ownersor household heads,do not normallyparticipate full membersin meaings, whethertheseare as dedacouncilsor otherpublicassemblies. Instead theyhaveto rely on malerelatives to defend their interests. This meansthat the choice of the deda, or any other traditional Boraninstitution that matter,doesnot favourwomen'sparticipation for in communitydecision-making, only the representation male proxies. but by Given their role in production and reproduction,not to mention their relatively (see section4.4 below), it is clearly desirableto increase disadvantaged status women'sparticipation theplanning in and implementation projects of which in many cases directly affectthemand their children. Unmodifiedapplication the deda of model would discourage and lend support to the statusquo: (i.e. minimal this participation women). The ILDP proposals silenton how this problemmight by are be ol'ercome: indeed doesnot evenappear havebeenrecognis{ as a problem it to (except,in passing, Swift and Umar l99l: 6a). by

Unkages with Formal Irutitutioru The ILDP draft proposals not indicate how the deda might tink up with do governmentpoliciesand instirutions. The obvious danger is that of promoting institutions which areseen functionin parallel,or evenin opposition rather to to, than in supportof, the formalst.ructure decision-making. of While thereis a clear gap betweencommunity needs practice(seesection4.2.1 above), and government this does not provide an argumentfor ignoring existing governmentpolicy and institutions &e local level. At the sametime, the formalisation indigenous at of institutions like the deda(if it may be calledan indigenous institution)would set a precedent which mighthavefar-reaching possiblyundesirable and implications for planning otherASAL (or evennon-ASAL)districts,especially development in where differentethnicgroups their institutions and haveto be accommodated. potential The for administrative confusion compounded ethnicconflictis clearlyconsiderable. by

i, i



the The relationbetween dcda as definetlby ILDP staff and the administrative in is divisions variable. [n somecases locations sub-locations the threeeastern and theydo not to areas, in others but closely existing administrative thededa correspond (Swift and Umar l99l: 24). As notedabove,chiefsand assistant chiefs carry no any on special status dedacouncils.The II-DP did not elahorate specificproposals but nrightlink up with the existing adrnirristration, suggqstrd tllat :rsto how tlretJetla held in linkagx should evolvein situ (ILDP l99l: 57). In an ILDP workshop these gave his a^proval to the Septemberl99l the Isiolo Distria Commissioner mernbers the sub-DDCs. How exactlythis might to appoinunent dedacommiuee of be done and how to matchthe dedawith differentsub-DDCs,includingLDCs and SLDCs, was left undetermined. locationsand subthan administrative In theorythe dedaare ratherlesspermanent locations,though both may change. This might be cited as another reason for of doubtingthe utility of the dedaas a unit of management.Recentinstances the of creationor disappearance deda, as describedby ILDP staff, are particularly is instructive. Gubatudeda,for example, saidto havebeencreatedsomeyearsago of when Gubatubecamea separate sub-location Serichol.ocation. Kinna deda is KinnaandRapsu, to been two deda, until attacks shiftabandits by reported haveonce chief, to move to in 1988forced the inhabitansof Rapsu,includingthe assistant is Kinna. Most interesting all, perhaps, thecase BisanBiliko deda,saidto have of of formed out of part of Kom commongrazing area in the run-up to the 1988 been wasopened there. Is inhabitants election whena pollingstation camefrom southof the EwasoNgiro at MalkaDaka,andaresaidto havemovednorth of the river at the who was a candidate the northernconstituency, for and instigation a clansman of wanted makesureof theireligibilityto vote for him. to makeit clearthat the deda- or what were identified If anything, these differentcases - are not the simple grazing areasof Boran tradition. as dedaby the ILDP team with the small Rather especially association in they reflectresidential concentrations, settlements the district. To the extent that the of uading centresand permanent there is a close relation administrative boundaries also reflecttheseconcentrations, - althougtr indicated ;s earlier, the delineation dedaboundaries between two the of more problems creates than it solves. Viewedin this light, it is only a short stepto recognising neighbourhood for association what it really is, abandoning recreated the tradition the dedain the process. of


Options for the Future nor At thissugeit is nei0rer feasible desirable drawup a blueprint ensuring for to community participation development planning implementation in and throughout Isiolo District. Given however, is possible indicatesomeof the it the abovecritiqueof the ILDP approach, to which follow discuss available options. The sub-sections someof the directionswhich might take in the proposed irlstirutional other initiatives and IDSP, following a learning-bydoingapproach.

4.5.1 The Useof ExistingInstitutions The useof existing indigenous institutions especially for is appropriate the development and operation specificprojecs. Amongthe Borana varietyof traditionaland non-traditional of purposes, already committeqs, meeting different for have and in beenidentificd describcd the 10

'l r{

(see as literature. Theseincludewell and boreholecommittees, well as schoolcommittees su c SwiftandUmal99l: 25).Otherkindsof ommittee, chasthoseoperatingsmallscale r less are somewhat well known. It wouldbe usefulto know more about schemes, irrigation instirutions, (including of shortconrings) all these proceJures capabilities and thecomposition, ,. so ttratthey canbe adopted adapted and when appropriate.At the sametime it would as or including those knowledgeof non-Boraninstitutions, useful to build up a comparable be polyethnic contexts. in .." operating of 4.5.2 The Institutionalisation Community Participation of IDSP remainsthe institutionalisation community A primary objectiveof the proposed in of planning and implementation general. The experience the participation development in and a ILDP suggests numberof ways in which this might be best approached, theseare point, which contrasts with theILDP approach, the discussed below. Perhaps mostimportant communityparticipationinto the formal administrative is the long term aim of integrating policy into practice. In the government in of structure decision-making; effectputtingstated of may be more a question the communityhavingan impactupon the formal short term it of system: but ttris shouldtake placein a way which can ultimatelylead to the integration include: which are of importance aspects the two. Specifrc ons NeighbourhoodOrganissti management units,the dedamodelof resource its origin in traditional Despite stated focusing organisation of the demonstrated imgrorunce neighbourhood theILDP clearty in settlements the rural areasof growing numberof small but permanent upon the are manyso-called dedameetings little morethan ad hoc local IsioloDistrict. Indeed assemblies. One option for the IDSP is t,o build u4nn such neighbourhood committees this of the and cooperation encourage formationof local development on kind, with other smalleruser conmitteesin the areasuitablyrepresented them. like would be permanent settlements those foci The geographic for suchcommittees alongthe EwasoNgiro. One importantway in which thesewould differ from the them (unless,quite would not be drawn aroundor between dedais that boundaries that of eristing or future sub-locations).It fortuitously,their distributionmatched of should be noted that committees this kind need not be restricted to the Boran along. Impacts Upon and Integration into the Formal System committees to to The degree which it might be desirable formaliseneighbourhood may dependupon a numberof factors, includingthe possiblenatureof their planning. The and of with the formalsystem administration development interaction policy, as outlined in the government long term goal should be to make current effwtive at local level, with functionalLDCs District Focusfor Rural Development, and it might be and SLDCs. In the shortterm, however,this may not be possible, committees that they canhave so and more feasible build up neighbourhood other to as an impacton the formal system it currentlyoperates. might be formed so committees There are two main ways in which neighbourhood whetherthe latter is in placeor not. On the as to interactwith the formal system, directly as the core of (potential)LDCs and one hand they might be constituted government alreadyon them. and other representatives SLDCs, with appropriate

t I

they mightbe formedasindependent Alternatively, bodies,almostlike localpressure groups,which can then electmembers represent to themon the LDCs and SLDCs. (including the imperfect correlation between numbers permanent of settlements Given possiblefuture ones)and adnrinistrative locationsand sub-locations, secondof the appears mostatlractive. it alsogreatlyincreases numberof the these alternatives the possibleparticipantsin the planningproc€ss,albeit at a lower level. This is all especially if, as might be expected, male herd ownersor household so headsin in are a neighbourhood eligibleto participate local meetings. Buuring Women's Participation Given the current const-ruction gender roles in Isiolo District, it would be of unrealisticto imagine that women'sparticipationon neighbourhood commiueescan is be readilysecured.This, at lea-st, the caseamongthe Boran, as suggested above, of though the (brief) experience the CAFOD project indicates that women's participation well{igging andimprovement on committees be encouraged an can by external donor. women'sparticipation the planningprocess A more effectivemeans ensuring of in would be through their membership separate of bodies. Women's groups, which havealreadymet with acceptance manymen in the district, form an idealvehicle by for this (seesection4.6.2 below). Women'sgroup representatives be readily can incorporatedinto the LDCs and SLDCs on a par with the representatives of groupscanbe mobilised another neighbourhood bodies. In this way women's as kind group parallelto ttremale{ominatedneighbourhood of pressure committees. Facilitating Community Participation Thereare differentwaysin whichthe institutionalisation communityparticipation of might be facilitated. Oneapproach to providematerialassistance is and/ortraining relevant governmentbodiesand their personnelso that they can implement to ttre their policiesmore effectively. The most pertinentof thesepolicies is the District Focusfor Rural Development. The latesteditionof the Distria Focx 'Blue Book' (Republicof Kenya 1987)recognises the LDCs and SLDCs are not suffrciently that activein all districts. It ascribes to the fact thattheir personnel not equipped this are with basic skills in project planning,monitoring, and the preparationof detailed minutes so tlrat they can communicate effectively with the divisional and district development committees.The suggested remedyis appropriate training. However, giventhe currentabsence functioning of LDCs andSLDCsin Isiolo District, it might be more appropriate direct such training at the neighbourhood to committees and groupswhichshould women's eventually form the coreof their membership. A case can also be made for providing assistance the Departmentof Social to Services. Given its own brief to facilitate process participatory the of development, not to mentionits existingwork with women'sgroups,thereis every reason work to with and throughthe department its field staff. However, as describedabovethe and department suffers from a numberof constraints, especially lack of transport its facilitiesandthe low motivation inadequate and trainingof its staff. Whetheror not ttrese corutraintsshouldbe tackledas a major priority is perhapsmore doubtful. Even if they were removed overnight,it would still taketime for the department to


in fulfil its facilitatoryrole, especially the absence someof the formal institutions of it is supposed work with. to If assistance to be channelled is moredirectlyto the local instirutions themselves, then this shouldnot be donewithouta muchclearerideaof their trainingandotherneeds, if any. If may be, for example, that resources be bestspenton the training of can women and women'sgroups,given their currentlevel of development Isiolo in District as compared to their considerable potential. It may also be that neighbourhoodcommitteesrequire very few inputs to function effectively. It is perhapsmore obviousthat financialres,ources shouldnot be fed directly into these instirutionsas was suggested ttre deda in the ILDP plan flLDP l99l: 57), for althoughit may be feasible testtheir ability to manage 0o pilot interventions. selected Otherwise,work of ttris kind might be most fruitfully undertaken collaboration in with experienced NGOs,especially thosewith a recordof flexibility andopenness to experiment. Despitethe start madeby the ILDP, the exact ways and meansof ensuringcommunityparticipation the planningprocessremainvery much to be. in discovered. 4.6 Community Pnrticipationand GenderNeeds Althoughwomenheaded households wererecognised a disadvantaged vulnerable as group and in Boransociety,the ILDP paid scantattention the practicaland strategic to genderneeds of women. It also turneda blind eye to the conspicuous absence womenfrom its chosen of modelfor participatory development, dedacouncils. the This final section reiterates need the process provides to involvewomenin the planning and additional background information on women's groups in Isiolo District as a suggested means of fostering women's fuller participation. 4.6.1 The ChangingPositionof Women Detailedinformationon the status womenin both rural and urbanareas Isiolo District of of can be gleanedfrom earlier research Dahl (1979) and Hjort (1979). Although this by research was conducted the mid-1970s, outlinesa patternwhich is still valuedtoday. in it Generally pictureis oneof declining the status.Amongthe Boran,for example, womenhave neverenjoyedmorethan a subordinate stafus termsof their controlover properry,labour, in and the productsof labour. In many rqspects they haveonly possessed statusby virtue of their attachment livestockowningmen. With the declinein pastoral to productionand the movement of many households,including those headed by women, inlo permanent women's position has generallybecomeeven worse in the face of scarce settlements, economic opportunities. Under thesecircumstances, women'sparticipation communitydecision-miking in processes has remainedminimal. The searchfor increased economic securityand incomegenerating oppornrnities has, however,fostered the growth of women'sgroups, as described below. Thesegroups, though not noted for their financialsuccess, provide an ideal vehicle for promotingwomen'sparticipation the plurningprocess. in 4.6.2 Wonren'sGroups in Isiolo Districl According to recent(1992) informationfrom the Department SocialServices of there are some 97 registeredwomen's groups in Isiolo District with a total membership of 13



of 3,2A0 women. These figures do not take accountof the presence approximately groups,the degree which registered groupsremainactive,and the growthor to unregistered Nonetheless, do provide they sincetheywereregistered. of decline theiractivemembership position the women's groupmovement the district. in of of an indication the overall groups basedin CentralDivision, the majority are of More thantlrreenuarters the registercd giventhe Isiolotown. This concentration groupsis not surprising of of themin andaround the of overalldistribution the district'spopulation, ethniccomposition CentralDivision, of the number of .women in need of social support and additional income generating opportunities in the urban and peri-urban areas, and tlre relative ease of access0o the (financial otherwise) and of or enjoyed Department SocialServices othersources assistance of by groupsin or nearIsiolo oown. in Individualwomen'sgroupstypicallyengage a rangeof activities. Livestockrearingand group enterprises the district, followed by farmingand in tradingare the most widespread generating activities undertaken women'sgroupsinclude by tradein foodstuffs.Otherincome poultry production, trade in veterinary drugs, clothes hawking, and the bee-keeping, productionof handicrafts the tourist market. Croups also perform importantwelfare for itself is the poolingof cashcontributions help to functions. Oneof the ways this manifests who are in somekind of difticulty or haveotherwise requested financial individualmembers that It to assistance. is interesting note,however, mostBoranwomen'sgroupsdo not operate which are so commonin agriculturaland urban and credit associations the rotatingsavings in communities elsewhere Kenya. provides adviceto women'sgroups,while government The Department SocialServices of given to them on its recommendation. practicethis advice is not very grantsmay be In within the districtandgroups sometimes formedwith no otherpurpose are evenlydistributed in mind thanto secure grant. a Isiolo District was one of four ASAL districtschosenfor the implementation a project of (FAO) of the United in sponsored the 1980sby the Food and AgriculrureOrganisation Action for Disadvantaged RuralWomen(CADRW). This projectwas Nations: Community launched M;r;, I982 as one of the ASAL programmes in coordinated the then Ministry of by Financeand Planning. Its statedobjectivewas to improve the social and economicwelfare women'sgroups in the identification their of of rural womenin ASAL areasby assisting programmes, production, with an emphasis needs the development suitable uponfood and of generating income activities training. and which the CADRW projectsponsored Isiolo District were a training Among the activities in workshopfor women'sgroup leaders from CentralDivision (held in 1984),an educational for tour of local women'sgroup representatives BaringoDistrict (in 1987),and a seminar to (also held in 1987). in the District on the subject womenand incomegeneration chiefs of groupsin the District, six of themwithin The projectalsoprovidedgrantsto seven women's information which was collected and published CentralDivision,and as a resultthe baseline groups. in the course the projea mainly concerns of these In the absence a subsequent it of evaluation, is not clearwhetheror not the CADRW project had any significantimpactupon women'sgroupsin lsiolo District. The numberof groups part, remains in the district, xpecially in its eastern relativelysmall, and it is apparent that undeveloped compared groupsin otherpartsof Kenya. In this respect, to they aresomewhat though,theyareno differentfrom groupsin otherASAL areas.The NGO initiatives referred

fact is that the 4.2 abovehaveyA to haveany impact: perhaps most significant to in section specifically CHEK, now havewomen'sgroupsmentioned at leasttwo NGOs, ActionniO anO in their work Programmes' there is undeveloped, Although women's groupsin the eastof Isiolo District are notably IDSP' On theonehandthey underthe proposed potentii foittreir development considJrable dlvelopmentinterventions:somegroups,for example, for can act as the channels specific lngaged or expandtheir existing trade in simple a have already expressed wiin 16become ,o.Oiiino. More importantly,the groups can function as a meansof enhancing ;;";i".y step on the road to ,uo**'r'involvement in communitylevel decision-making,a first community promotionof equitable in component the and women'sempowerment a Dec€ssary participation.


REFERENCF^S of and Grass: Subsistence Society Waso Borana. Stockholm: Dahl, Gudrun 1979 Suffering of University Stockholm. Sandford 1978 lfhich Way to Go? A Studyof Peogleand Pastoralism Dahl, Gudrunand Stephen DevelopmentAgency and the International in Isiolo District in Kenya, report to the Canadian LivestockCentrefor Africa. International ,, Town: Rural Ties and Urban Opgortunitiesin Northern Kenya. Hjort, Anders 1979 Savanna Stockholm: Universityof Stockholm. gf Ph.D Hogg, Richard l98l The Socialand EconomicQrganisation Isiolo Boran, unpublished thesis, Universityof Manchester. 'Settlement, Pastordismand the Commons: the ldeology and Practiceof Hogg, Richard 1987 and R.Grove (eds) Conservationin in Irrigation Development NorthernKenya', in D.Anderson UniversityPress. pp.293-306. Africa: People.PoliciesandPractic€. Cambridge:Cambridge 'An Irstitutional Approachto Pastoral Development: An Example from Hogg, Richard 1990 NetworkPaper30d, Iondon. Development Ethiopia",ODI Pa.storal Plan for the Pastoral Sectorof Project(ILDP) l99l A Development IsioloLivestockDevelopment Production Office, Isiolo. IsioloDistrict. District Livestock 'Environmental "NGOS Change in Change', Mary Tiffen (ed) andTechnological Kaluti,J.W. 1992 Institutiond Profile", ODI in District, Kenya, 193G1990: and Dryland Management Machakos Working Paper(ms), London. Nairobi. Offtce of the President, Republic Kenya 1987 District Focusfor Rural Development, of in Pastoral Development Isiolo Distrigt: Swift, Jeremyand AMi Noor Umar 1991 Participatory Isiolo LivestockDevelopment Pro.le.d!, Development in theIsioloLivestock Research Socio-economic Project,Isiolo.




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